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Distanciation in Ricoeur's theory of interpretation: narrations in a study of life experiences of living with chronic illness and home mechanical ventilation

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Abstract:

DREYER PS and PEDERSEN BD Nursing Inquiry 2009; 16: 64 –73

Distanciation in Ricoeur's theory of interpretation: narrations in a study of life experiences of living with chronic illness and home mechanical ventilation

Within the caring science paradigm, variations of a method of interpretation inspired by the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur's theory of interpretation are used. This method consists of several levels of interpretation: a naïve reading, a structural analysis, and a critical analysis and discussion. Within this paradigm, the aim of this article is to present and discuss a means of creating distance in the interpretation and the text structure by using narration in a poetic language linked to the meaning of the text. Ricoeur's ‘Hermeneutical function of distanciation’ will be introduced, and this concept of distanciation will be illustrated with reference to narrations from a study of patient's life experiences living with chronic illness and home mechanical ventilation in Denmark. Distanciation in the interpretation objectifies the text, and narration in a poetic language creates a particular kind of mediation in the interpretation. That narration represents an interpreted understanding of the whole, which facilitates an appropriate and evocative presentation of the interpreted data. This way of objectifying the text through narration can contribute yet another perspective to Ricoeur's rich and varied theory of interpretation.

Keywords: Ricoeur; distanciation; hermeneutics; home mechanical ventilation; interpretation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1800.2009.00433.x

Affiliations: University of Aarhus, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6 A, Bygning, Århus C, Denmark,

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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